Remembering the faculty and alumni of
University’s College of
Physicians & Surgeons
Arthur DeVoe, M.D.
Arthur Gerard DeVoe, the Harkness Professor Emeritus of Ophthalmology, died Sept. 19, 2007, at age 98. He was the first Edward S. Harkness Professor of Ophthalmology and served as chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology and director of the Edward Harkness Eye Institute from 1959 to 1974.
A graduate of Yale University, where he was captain of the track team, he earned his medical degree from Cornell University. Before joining Columbia, he was chairman and professor of ophthalmology at NYU.
He was renowned for his expertise in corneal and cataract surgery. He and Hernando Cardona, M.D., pioneered the development of keratoprosthesis for advanced corneal diseases. He recruited world-class scientists to Columbia and promoted the creation of the Eye Research building. He was active in the American Board of Ophthalmology (which he served as chairman), American Ophthalmological Society, American College of Surgeons, Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology, and the Heed Foundation, and he served on many NIH committees.
Other Faculty Deaths
Dr. Rajendra Dalal, assistant clinical professor of radiology at Bassett Healthcare, died Feb. 10, 2007.
Robert A. deNapoli, M.D., clinical professor of neurology, died July 28, 2007.
Niels Low, M.D., retired professor of clinical neurology and clinical pediatrics, died in August 2007.
William H. Mook III, M.D., retired associate professor of clinical medicine at Bassett Healthcare, died Sept. 5, 2007. (See Class of 1944 in alumni In Memoriam for more information.)
Class of 1937
William T. Strauss, a former medical director for various major pharmaceutical firms, died peacefully at his home in Damariscotta, Maine, on Aug. 6, 2007. He was 95 years old. He is credited with coining the term tranquilizer. Dr. Strauss worked for Hoffmann LaRoche and CIBA and developed and produced “Medical Horizons,” the first nationally broadcast medical program, for ABC television. He taught on the faculty of Albany Medical College from 1964 to 1972 and edited several widely used medical textbooks. Outside of his medical life he had a passion for sports cars. He is survived by his wife, Sylvia, a daughter, and a son.
Class of 1939
Belated word has been received of the death on Jan. 5, 2000, of Eugene Jennings, a retired general practitioner from St. Petersburg, Fla. Dr. Jennings served on a Navy destroyer during World War II and saw combat in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He was a charter member of the American Board of Family Practice. Survivors include his wife, Miriam, two daughters, a son, and nine grandchildren.
Class of 1940
Robert L. Fisher, a retired obstetrician/gynecologist, died June 22, 2007. Dr. Fisher served as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy on a submarine and an ammunitions ship
during World War II. Back in civilian life, he was a co-founder in 1947 of the Sharon Clinic, one of the first group practices in the country. In the course of his 30-plus year practice he delivered more than 7,000 babies. Preceded in death by his wife, Ruth, he is survived by two daughters, four sons, and six grandchildren.
William E. Swift died July 1, 2007, at age 92. Dr. Swift served during World War II as a squadron physician for the 325th Fighter Group (aka “The Checkertail Clan”) and saw combat in North Africa and Italy. Dr. Swift served with the Army until his retirement, in 1960, at the rank of colonel. He taught on the faculty in the Department of Medicine at Yale Medical School in New Haven, where for many years he had a thriving family practice. Dr. Swift was a loyal alumnus and supporter of the medical school. His wife, Anne, preceded him in death. He is survived by two daughters,
a son, three grandchildren, and one
Word has been received of the death in 2007 of Jean Walker, precise date unknown. A retired internist, Dr. Walker had been a member of the staff at Broward General Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A licensed pilot, she also enjoyed skin-diving, spear-fishing, and other water sports. She is survived by a daughter and a son.
Class of 1941
Gilbert H. Taylor, a retired orthopedic surgeon, died June 11, 2007, at age 90. Dr. Taylor served in the U.S. Army. He had been affiliated with the Glen Cove, N.Y., Community Hospital. He volunteered his surgical services as medical director for CARE in the Dominican Republic and on several Indian reservations in Arizona. He is survived by his wife, Jean.
Class of 1943D
Vaun T. Floyd, a general surgeon, died May 30, 2007, from complications of kidney failure. Dr. Floyd saw active duty as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force in World War II.
Following many years of private practice
in surgery, he served as medical director and senior vice president for medical affairs of the St. Joseph Healthcare System in Albuquerque, N.M. In 1984 he was honored with the A.H. Robins Community Service Award of the New Mexico Medical Society. He was a past president of the Rotary Club of Albuquerque, which named him a “Rotary Living Legend” in 2004. He is survived by his wife, Mary, two daughters, two sons, and 12 grandchildren.
Barton D. Stevens, a retired surgeon, died April 23, 2007. A member of the clinical faculty at Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, Dr. Stevens had long been affiliated with the medical center in Princeton, N.J. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and participated in the Normandy invasion. Survivors include his wife, Joan, two daughters, and two sons.
Alvin Turken, a retired orthopedic surgeon, died from complications of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 1, 2007. Dr. Turken served as a medical officer with the 4th General Hospital in Luzon, Philippines, during World War II. He pursued a private practice in Los Angeles, where he was affiliated with Temple Hospital. He also served for many years as a member of the Board of Governors of Technion University in Haifa, Israel. He is survived by his wife, Deborah, three sons, and four granddaughters.
Class of 1943M
Allen B. Wheelis, a psychiatrist and writer, died June 14, 2007. Dr. Wheelis was the author of works in philosophy, history, and psychology as well as six novels and a chilling memoir. In the latter book, “The Life and Death of My Mother” (1992), written in a spare, poetic style, Dr. Wheelis reveals with merciless bluntness the grim details of his Louisiana childhood, including the cruelty of his father and the clawing love of his mother. Trained at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, Dr. Wheelis was affiliated with the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Mass., and later with the Mount Zion Psychiatric Clinic in San Francisco. He is survived by his wife, Ilse, two daughters, and a son. An article about Dr. Wheelis appeared in “The Lives They Lived” in the Dec. 30, 2007, issue of the New York Times Magazine.
Class of 1944
Charles A. Carton, an eminent neurosurgeon, died Dec. 16, 2006, from complications of a stroke. He served in the Army Medical Corps. Dr. Carton was affiliated for more than 50 years with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. In the course of his career he taught at several institutions, including Baylor University College of Medicine in Houston, and UCLA. He was the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed papers. Among his innovations, he pioneered a rapid non-suture ring anastomotic method for repairing small vessels in the brain. He was a passionate believer in the links between science and art, a subject on which he delivered many lectures. He was also a collector of old medical and botanical prints and books. Dr. Carton is survived by his wife, Claire, and two daughters.
Kathryn S. Huss, a former member of the faculty in the Department of Medicine at Rush Medical College in Chicago, died Aug. 21, 2007. Dr. Huss participated for many years in a group medical practice and served as assistant director of drugs for the American Medical Association. Following her retirement, she served as director of medical education at Memorial Hospital of DuPage County, Elmhurst, Ill. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. John Henry Huss, and is survived by two daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.
William H. Mook III, a retired internist and one-time member of the clinical faculty at P&S, died Sept. 5, 2007. Dr. Mook served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserves and was called up for active duty during the Korean War. Affiliated with Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, N.Y., Dr. Mook maintained a successful private practice, specializing in endocrinology, and was a member of the clinical faculty at P&S. He also served as Otsego Public Health Officer. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, four daughters, one son, 19 grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Robert T. Steinsieck, a past recipient, with his wife, Marie, of the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, died Sept. 15, 2007. Dr. Steinsieck served in the U.S. Army during World War II and in the Medical Corps for another two years. He continued as a member of the Army Reserves until retiring from the service as a major in 1961. After two decades on the surgical staff at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Mass., he left the Boston area to pursue a general surgical practice in the small town of Lebanon, N.H., where he was affiliated with Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, a son, six grandchildren, a step-grandson, and a great-grandson.
Belated word has been received of the April 26, 2005, death of Walter H. Winchester, a retired family practitioner and former chief of staff of Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Fla. Dr. Winchester had been past president of the Pinellas County Medical Society and the Pinellas Academy of Family Practice. He served as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves and saw active duty on Okinawa during and immediately after World War II. He conducted the first post-World War II survey of the tattoo habits of American sailors. Among his fondest postmedical school memories, as he recalled on an alumni questionnaire, was the privilege of having been “included in so many many families through thick and thin, from birth and childhood to schools, marriages, divorces, sickness, old age, death.”
Class of 1945
Gherardo J. Gherardi, a retired pathologist, died in a traffic accident Sept. 6, 2007. He was 86. A native of Lucca, Italy, Dr. Gherardi came to the United States as a young man. Former chief pathologist at Framingham Union Hospital, he taught on the faculties of the University of Massachusetts, Boston University, and Tufts University medical schools. Dr. Gherardi was a past president of the New England Society of Pathologists. Preceded in death by his wife, Celeste, he is survived by two sons, two stepsons, and eight grandchildren.
Class of 1946
James H. Mason IV, a retired surgeon and former member of the clinical faculty at Hahnemann Medical College, died May 18, 2007. He was 85. He practiced surgery for more than four decades at the Atlantic City Medical Center in New Jersey and also served as former chief attending surgeon and surgical director. Dr. Mason was a past president of the Atlantic County Medical Society. His military service included active duty in the Army Medical Corps during World War II and again in the Korean conflict, during which he served in a MASH unit and as chief of surgery at the largest 8th Army hospital in Seoul, Korea. He was later awarded the Bronze Star. Outside of his medical practice, he served a term as president of United Way of Atlantic County and actively pursued passions for painting and history. In Ventnor, N.J., he founded the Ventnor City Historical Society and the Ventnor City History Museum. Dr. Mason is survived by his wife, Helen, a daughter, a son, and three grandchildren.
Class of 1949
Lawrence J. Hatterer, a longtime member of the clinical faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Cornell, died July 13, 2007. A distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Hatterer, who pursued a successful private practice, also served for many years as the admitting psychiatrist to the Payne Whitney Clinic. A specialist in the psychotherapy of artists, he helped pioneer the use of media to study the process of psychotherapy. Founder of the Foundation for Education in Human Relations, he developed and produced information programs on psychiatry for television. He was the author of three books and many book chapters and articles on problems of the creative personality, addiction, and high risk behavior, as well as other areas. Survivors include his wife, Dr. Myra Hatterer, two daughters, one of whom, Dr. Julie Hatterer, is a physician, a son, and four grandchildren.
Class of 1950
Maurice F. Goodbody Jr., a retired internist, died March 18, 2007. He served in the
U.S. Navy during World War II. For many years Dr. Goodbody pursued a private practice in New York City, where he served as an attending physician at St. Luke’s Hospital. Preceded in death by his wife, Katherine, he is survived by four daughters, four sons,
and 12 grandchildren.
Class of 1951
George Nicklin, a retired psychiatrist and educator, died June 26, 2007, at 81. A psychoanalytically trained psychiatrist, Dr. Nicklin taught on the clinical faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and practiced for more than a half a century in New York City and on Long Island. A passionate teacher at heart, he founded the Westbury Friends School, the Long Island Psychoanalytic Institute, and the Friends World College, based in Lloyd Harbor, N.Y., with campuses on four other continents. Founded in 1965, the school has an experimental curriculum devoted to global education. At the school’s 10th anniversary dinner, Dr. Nicklin was honored by the Quakers. “May peace, love, happiness and understanding be with you,” Dr. Nicklin said in his closing remarks, as fine an epitaph as anyone could want. He was the author of several books, including “Doctors in Peril,” a collection of physicians’ accounts of their scrapes with mortality. Dr. Nicklin served as a medic in the Ninth Infantry Division during World War II and was severely wounded in combat. He was awarded two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. He is survived by
his wife, Kate, three daughters, a son, and
Class of 1954
G. Richard O’Connor, a distinguished ophthalmologist, died Aug. 8, 2007. Dr. O’Connor taught for many years on the faculty of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California, San Francisco, where he also served for close to a decade and a half as director of the Francis I. Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology. Recognized as one of the leading authorities on uveitis, he published numerous articles and helped train many specialists in his field. Following his retirement, he indulged a lifelong passion for archeology, participating in numerous digs in Greece, tracing the route of Odysseus’ journey, including the site of Odysseus’ palace on the Island of Ithaca. He is survived by his partner of 40 years, Nick Berringer.
Class of 1955
John D. Griswold, a retired family practitioner who specialized in the treatment of addiction, died June 3, 2007. Dr. Griswold was a staunch consumer advocate for nationalized health care to offer universal coverage at a reasonable cost. His wife, Dolores, preceded him in death. Survivors include a daughter, a son, and three grandchildren.
Class of 1956
Retired ophthalmologist Edwin M. Trayner died Aug. 4, 2006. He was a former director of ophthalmology at Englewood, N.J., Hospital. Dr. Trayner served terms as president of the Bergen County Medical Society and the New Jersey Academy of Ophthalmology. Upon his retirement in 2000 after 40 years of private practice, Dr. Trayner worked for the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners. He is survived by his wife, Rita, a daughter, and two sons.
Class of 1959
Belated word has been received of the Nov. 19, 2002, death of Donald Pugatch, a retired psychiatrist based in Andover, Mass. Dr. Pugatch taught at Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School. He is survived by a daughter, two sons, and two grandchildren.
Class of 1960
Neil W. Swinton, an internist affiliated with the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass., died Sept. 4, 2007. Dr. Swinton, a fourth generation physician, served for two years during the Vietnam War in the cardiology service at Walter Reed General Hospital and later received the U.S. Army Certificate of Achievement Award. Vice chairman of the Department of Medicine and a past director of the Primary Care Clinic at the Lahey Clinic, he helped establish the Department of Vascular Medicine as an independent administrative entity. Also, in his subsequent capacity as chairman of the Professional Affairs Committee, he was instrumental in allowing the women on staff a greater flexibility in schedule to facilitate balancing family and professional responsibilities. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, three daughters, and nine grandchildren.
Class of 1965
Stephen S. Scheidt, professor of medicine and longtime director of the cardiology fellowship training program at Weill Cornell Medical College, died of prostate cancer Aug. 7, 2007. In 1980 Cornell awarded him the Elliott Hochstein Teaching Award. Co-director of the Salzburg-Cornell seminars, he was honored with the Silver Medal for Science and Technology of the Austrian government. Recognizing what he once characterized as “the hardships that physicians face and the difficulties of people in obtaining modern care in the face of equipment shortages and extreme underinvestment in medical care,” Dr. Scheidt made time to teach medicine in underdeveloped newly independent nations in central and eastern Europe and central Asia. He is survived by his wife, Andrea, two daughters, and four grandchildren.
Class of 1972
Stephen E. Straus, the first director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, died of brain cancer on May 14, 2007. By his own reckoning an open-minded skeptic, Dr. Straus, a distinguished virologist, once said of himself: “I’m a skeptic, but not a nihilist. There’s an important difference. Skepticism is essential to science. … Nihilism is a corrosive force. The belief that nothing could be true really negates an opportunity for inquiry and rational thought.” As the head of NCCAM, he brought his lucid skepticism to bear on the vast array of complementary and alternative treatment modalities, sifting out the potentially beneficial from the bogus and the bunk. Among the many treatments under scrutiny, he and his team saw promise in acupuncture as an adjunctive regimen for osteoarthritis of the knee, and in gingko biloba, an herb, in slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. He also led the call for standardization of quality and dosage in herbal products. First and foremost a scientist, Dr. Straus, a veteran NIH investigator for more than 30 years and the author of more than 400 articles, concurrently held the title of chief of the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He was best known for having demonstrated the effectiveness of acyclovir in suppressing recurrent genital and oral herpes and for first characterizing autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome, a debilitating congenital neurological disease that strikes children. In 2007 he was awarded the Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievements in Medicine from the P&S Alumni Association. He was also the recipient of a Meritorious Service Medal from the Public Health Service and the Enders Award from the Infectious Diseases Society of America, among other honors. Dr. Straus is survived by his wife, Barbara, two daughters, and a son.
Class of 1986
Winjing Chang, an anesthesiologist and medical director at Pikeville, Ky., Medical Center, died suddenly of a heart attack at his home April 24, 2007. For 15 years, Dr. Chang was a partner in anesthesiology at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles, where he also served as educational chair and president of the professional staff. He is survived by his wife, Miriam, and two sons.